Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Window Boxes at Trinity Nursing Home

Life has been very difficult as a quadriplegic since my spinal chord injury nine years ago this spring. But the hardest chapter began last August when it became necessary for me to move into a nursing home at age 44. I have always believed I was a strong person but learning to not only survive but THRIVE in a nursing home is now one of my proudest accomplishments. So I have been reborn at Trinity Nursing Home in Merriam, KS.

Based on my executive training background, i began building relationships with the leadership team here. One of the first things I brought to their attention was they had been scammed by a disreputable landscape company. Although on paper the front of the facility faces south, the company shoved in sun plants last August in beds under two 50 + year old pin oaks and two mature crab apples. I'm sure the fact sun plants due to their volume are less expensive than shade plants was involved in the scam. As soon as I arrived I brought attention of the scam to the director however the company would not return phone calls. But this terrible chapter has been a great opportunity for this handicapable man.

Strategically I decided to push the landscaping back until the fall when there would be more time available for recruiting volunteers and I would have time to get to know the environment better for designing a garden. There are thirteen 30" window boxes surrounding the two covered patio areas at the front of the building. I have decided to focus my efforts on these hopefully distracting the visitors' eye from the remains of the scam artists. Since the patio cover and trees provide varying degrees of light exposure I need to learn better for the future, I've decided to go with a simple combo of Sunpatiens and vinca vine.

The Sunpatiens were discovered when a cross of a New Guinea impatiens and a traditional impatiens lead to a hybrid with the preponderence of blooms of the bedding plant variety with the thicker leaf of the New Guinea allowing the plant to thrive in the sun. As I wrote in my column in the Kansas City Gardener, my only fault I see with Sunpatiens is the marketing behind it. There are three plant forms under the Sunpatiens brand name: Compact, Landscape and Cascade. But because the marketing company has them all under the same series there is more than enough reason for consumer confusion and frustration.

So I have three plants of each color with two vinca vine between them. The patios are on each side of the main entrance. I have the same colors in each box in the same position on each patio for maximum impact. I'll keep you updated with photography through the growing season.

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